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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1801 - 1901 - Part 8

1834.—NUMBERING OF THE HOUSES,—In 1822 an attempt was made to have all the houses in the burgh numbered, but very few were found to favour the new-fangled notion; only a few persons in the eastern division of the High Street adopted the proposal. Nothing farther was done in the matter until January, 1834, when a general numbering of the houses set in, and during the year all the houses were duly numbered. (MS. Note.)

DUNFERMLINE AND CHARLESTOWN RAILWAY.—Early in 1834, a branch railroad was made, uniting the Elgin waggon road with the lower part of the town, south-west of the Nethertown, for the conveyance of goods and passengers from Dunfermline to Charlestown; it was worked by horse-power. (MS.)

NEW CHURCH.—A new Baptist Church was built in East Queen Ann Street, opposite the top end of Bonnar Street. (MS. Note.)

THE Dunfermline Horticultural Society Instituted in May, 1834.— This Society was instituted for improvement in the science of horticulture, and awarding prizes for superior horticultural produce. (MS. Note.)

THE Western District of Fife Agricultural Association Instituted, 27th May, 1834.—The Chicken Pie Club, instituted in 1760, and the Dunfermline Farmers' Society of 1765, united into one club under the designation above given. It meets annually in July.

LITERATURE.—"Monthly Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Clackmannan, Kinross, and Vicinities. No, 1. Published 1st May 1834. Gratis. By William Liddell, Printer, 28 High Street, Dunfermline." This Monthly was a small quarto of 4 pages, 81/2 by 7 1/2 inches. We are in possession of No. 3, dated 5th July, 1834; it is filled with advertisements, no news of any kind in it, and was distributed gratis, and depended on advertisements for its existence.

VIEWS OF DUNFERMLINE, &c.—Nine excellent Views of the Abbey, Monastery, Palace, and general view of the city from the south-east, were this year, 1834, engraved and published by John Johnstone, Edinburgh. Many of these embellish the first volume of Dr. Chalmers's History of Dunfermline.

THEATRICALS.—Mr. Ryder, with a large staff of artistes, arrived in Dunfermline in June, 1834, when the Mason Hall was fitted up for their performances. The handbills announced that Mr. Ryder "had a greater diversity of scenery than was ever before displayed in Dunfermline; an unlimited wardrobe, comprising the costumes of various ages and nations, and a large company of performers, musicians," &c. On 7th July the subject of performance was "The Rivals," with "Gilderoy" as the after-piece. Pit, 2s. 6d.; Gallery, 1s. Mr. Ryder was well patronized.

EXHIBITION OF DRAWINGS.—The numerous drawings made by Mr. Campbell's pupils were exhibited in Mr. Rankines Hall on 15th and 16th July, from nine o'clock morning till eight o'clock in the evening, (MS. Note.) This exhibition was well attended; great many views of the Abbey, the Fratery, Palace, and of notable objects in the locality.

PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—The Provost this year was elected in November, under the provisions of the New Reform Municipal Act, instead of the old use-and-wont Martinmas election in September. Henry Russell, Esq., merchant, was re-elected on 9th November. He was, as one of our notes states, "the first reform Provost of Dunfermline."

" BERRY-LAW-TAP" CAIRN.—During the year 1834 a slight digging was made into the highest peak of Berry-Law-Tap. Nothing was found excepting a kind of cairn and one mouldered bone. There were no coins. (MS. Note.)

ANCIENT TENEMENT REMOVED.—The old house at the corner angle of High Street and Shaddo Wynd (now Bonnar Street) was removed during the autumn of 1834. As the north part of the pend of the East Port was connected with this house, it had in former times the name of the East Port House. A sketch of it was made for the writer in August, 1832, by J. Carmichael, and we here reproduce it as an illustration, as being, perhaps, the last remnant of Grey Dunfermline. On the wall of this house, near the top, there is a man's head, cut in stone, also a stone having "W C, 1609," cut on it. These stones have been set into the walls of the modern building.

LITERATURE.—"A Historical and Chronological Table of the Ancient Town of Dunfermline, from 1064. to1864. Printed by John Johnstone, 19 St. James's Square, Edinburgh, for A. Mercer." This table is printed in seven perpendicular columns, on a sheet of paper 25 by 21 inches, and contains, in a condensed form, the Annals of Dunfermline, from 1064 to the end of the year 1833, price is. 6d.; on rollers, 3s. 6d. Dr. Chalmers, in his History of Dunfermline, vol. i. p. 78, refers to the authorship of this Chronological Table, and, in order to corroborate his statement, it may be repeated here that, with a few
exceptions, this Table was compiled by the writer of the present volume, who gave the manuscript to Mr. Mercer, in free gift, to get printed for his own benefit The writer, some years afterwards, had the pleasure and satisfaction of being told by that worthy and amiable man himself, that by the sale of the Chronological Table he had "realized considerable pecuniary benefit."

THE DUNFERMLINE SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION was instituted 28th November, 1834—David Lawrie, Esq., preses. (Dunf. Regist.)

BURIALS in Dunfermline Churchyard.—From 1st January, 1833, to 1st January, 1834, inclusive, there were 331 interments in the Churchyard. (Dunf. Regist. Burials.)

1835.—ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, North Chapel Street, was erected into a quoad sacra parish church in 1835, and a contiguous district of the town, containing about 3000 of a population, was assigned to it.

BLEACHING MACHINE.—In the year 1835, William Cant, the "water-walker," invented an engine for bleaching yarn. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i p. 371.)

THE Western District of Fife Reform Association was instituted 3rd. June, 1835--Sir J.D. Erskine, Bart., of Torry, chairman; James Hunt, Esq., of Pittencrieff, deputy-chairman; James Macfarlane, Esq., secretary. (Dunf. Regist.)

THE Town-house Clock-Dials First Illuminated by Gas.--The apparatus was fixed up in July, 1835, by Mr. Robert Hart, Glasgow, and the clock was lighted for the first time in October, 1835. (R. H.)

The Holy Catholic Apostolic Congregation was formed in 1835-- Rev. William Cannan, pastor. (MS.)

RELIEF CHURCH.—The Rev. Neil M'Michael, A.M., was ordained assistant and successor to the Rev. Henry Fergus, on 11th August, 1835. This church is now known as Gillespie's Church. (See An. Dunf. date 1874.)

DEBT of the Burgh of Dunfermline Mortgaged.—On 13th October, 1835, the debt was found to be £13,421 12s. 9 1/2d. This year the Town Council executed a deed conveying the whole property and revenues of the burgh, with the exception of the petty customs, to an accountant in Edinburgh for behoof of the creditors. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 397, 398.)

PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Henry Russell, Esq., merchant, was re-elected Provost, November, 1835. (Burgh Records.)

WEAVING—Yarn Purchased in 1835.—In the year 1835, Flax, to the value of $58,350 was purchased by the Dunfermline manufacturers. (MS.)

PHYSIOLOGICAL LECTURES.—A course of twelve lectures on physiology was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Barlas in Maygate Chapel. (MS. Note.)

1836.—THE ANNULAR ECLIPSE.—The following extract regarding the Annular Eclipse of the Sun, of the 15th May, 1836, is taken from the writer's notes :—

This rare type of an eclipse excited great interest over the whole of Britain, especially over that tract where the full annulus, or ring, of the Sun could be seen surrounding the dark disc of the Moon. Dunfermline being situated to the north of that tract, a perfect, or complete luminous ring, of different breadths, was distinctly seen at the middle point of the eclipse. The day was particularly favourable for witnessing such a splendid sight. As it had been predicted, the middle of the eclipse occurred at 7 minutes after 3 o'clock on the afternoon of Sunday, 15th May, 1836. The ministers of the several churches in. town delivered lectures in the forenoon, having reference to the eclipse, from appropriate texts, and, before dismissing their congregations, informed them that the churches in town were to be closed during the afternoon, so that all might have an opportunity of "seeing a glorious, but seldom seen phenomenon, for none of them would ever see the like again." Accordingly, the streets of the town and the country-roads became crowded with spectators, some looking out for the eclipse through pieces of smoked glass, and dark silk napkins; while others contented themselves with looking through their nearly-closed fingers, and when 3 h. 7 min. came, great interest was manifested, and "the greater portion of the lookers-on were much gratified," a number, however, were disappointed. Still, some had expected that it would be "pitch dark" at the middle of the eclipse; others expected that there would have been "a very considerable darkness at that time." The darkness at 3 h. 7min. was not greater than is experienced at 30 minutes before sunrise, or the same length of time after sunset. For explanation of which, see works on Astronomy. (See An. Dunf. p. 248.)

WEAVING TRADE.—The following tables were compiled by a Committee of the Dunfermline Manufacturers in July, 1836, for the use of the late Joseph Hume, Esq., M.P.:—

TABLE I,—The Description and Number of Persons Employed, and their Average Weekly Wages.



Average Weekly
S. D.

Weavers (men and boys), 3517 18 0
Warpers, Warehousemen, and Lappers (men), 150 15 0
Winders and Pirn-fillers (women and girls), 1000   4 0
Yarn Boilers (chiefly women), 29   7 0
Bleachers of Yarn, 35   7 0
Bleachers of Cloth (men and women), 150   8 6
Lappers in the Public Lapping Houses (chiefly men), 29   9 6
Designers or Pattern Drawers (men), 5    --
Do. do. Assistants, 7    --
Pattern Cutters (men and women), 12    --
Dyers (men), 10 18 0
Total number of Persons employed, 5044  

TABLE II.—The Amount of Capital Employed w the Weaving Dunfermline and immediate Vicinity.

3517 Looms, producing annually finished Goods to the amount of (calculating each Loom at £100), .... £351,700
Value of Loom-shops and Work-houses, .... 156,000
“ 3000 Damask Looms, at £10 each, 30,000
“ 517 Diaper Looms, at ,£3 each, 1,551
Mounting, or Patterns, and Cards for the 3517 Looms, 4,500
The Houses and Warehouses of the Manufacturers, 20,000
Warping Mills and Bobbins, ...... 500
Floating Capital, at £60 for each Loom, .... 211,000
Machinery and Houses for boiling Yarn, .... 3,000
Floating Capital for do., .... 250
Machinery, Ground, and Houses for bleaching Yarns, . 6,000
Floating Capital for do., 3,500
Houses, Ground, and Machinery for bleaching Cloth, . 20,000
Floating Capital for do., 8,000
Houses for calendering, lapping, and finishing Goods, . 6,000
Floating capital for do., 1,000
Houses and Machinery for cutting Patterns, 1,250
Floating Capital for do., .... 340
Houses and Machinery for dyeing Worsted and Cotton, 620
Floating Capital for do., 950

Total, £826,261

TABLE III.—Number, and Different Kinds of Looms.

Single Diaper 770
Single Damask 1880
Double do. 369
Table Covers 445
Worsted Warps 13
Linen (full harness) 15
Bed Quilts 17

Total Number 3517


Date / Looms within the Parish / Looms out of the Parish / Total / Value.

1749 About 400 — 400 —
1788 — — 900 —
1792 820 About 38 1200 —
1813 930 70 1000 £95,000
1818 1500 150 1650 120,000
1822 — — 1800 ——
1831 2670 450 3130 ——
1836 (July) 2794 723 3517 351,700
1837 (Aug.) 2983 717 3700 370,000

These tables were sent to us by the late Mr. Alex. Halley, in 1836.

DEATH OF THE REV. ALLAN M'LEAN.—The Rev. Allan M'Lean, who had been minister of the First Charge of the Abbey Church, Dunfermline, since 30th June, 1791, died on 3rd June, 1836.

SPINNING MILLS IN THE PARISH OF DUNFERMLINE.—In the year 1836 there were seven spinning mills in full operation in the parish, namely, at Harvie-Brae, Golfdrum, Millport, top of Bruce Street, Knabbie Street, Clay-Acres, Milton Green, and Midmill. (MS. Note.) "Shortly afterwards the Milton Green Mill was closed, and Millport and Golfdrum Mills suspended." At these seven mills, 160 men and 160 women were employed; number of spindles, 7,704, and about 1,060 tons of flax were consumed yearly.

DUNFERMLINE ABBEY CHURCH.—Rev. Peter Chalmers, A.M., who had been minister of the Second Charge of this church since 18th July, 1817, was, on the death of Rev. Allan M'Lean, inducted minister of the First Charge on 5th October, 1836.

PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—George Birrell, Esq., manufacturer, elected Provost. (Burgh Records, Nov., 1836.)

POST OFFICE REVENUE in 1836, £1,402, 10s. 10d.; Stamp-Office, £2,341, 8s. 6d.

THE WEAVING TRADE.—It was estimated by several of the manufacturers, near the end of this year, that table-linen and other goods woven in Dunfermline, and exported to America in 1836, were of the value of £153,000, and for home consumption, £198,700. (MS. Note.)

LATE AND BAD HARVEST.—The harvest of 1836 around Dunfermline was uncommonly late, and much below the average. The stocks were standing among the snow on 7th November.

1837.—THE Dunfermline Harmonists’ Society was instituted in 1837 by Mr. James Rankine, master of the Song School, Dunfermline.

ABBEY CHURCH ORDINATION.—The Rev. John Tod Brown was ordained minister of the Second charge of the Abbey Church, Dunfermline, on 11th May, 1837. He resigned his charge in 1844, and  went to Liverpool, where he was for a short period minister of the Scotch Church, Rodney Street. (MS Note.)

THE REV. HENRY FERGUS, minister of the Relief Church, died in his manse, North Chapel Street, on  the 2nd July, 1837, aged seventy three. He was an eminent historian and philosopher, and the first who lectured to the members of the Mechanics’ Institute in 1825. Mr. Fergus was the author of the following works:--“A Short Account of the Laws and Institutions of Moses,” 1810; “The Testimony of Nature and Revelation to the Being, Perfections, and Government of God,” 1833. “The History of the United States of America,” &c. for Lardner’s Encyclopedia. (MS Note.)

THE REV. GEORGE BARLAS, minister of Chalmers Street Church from 1820 to 1832, and of the congregation, Maygate Chapel, from 1832 to 1837, died in Viewfield House, Dunfermline, on 29th July,
1837, aged forty two years. (MS Note)

PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—George Birrell, Esq., re-elected Provost. (Burgh Records, Nov., 1837)

STAGNATION IN THE WEAVING TRADE.—A great many of the weavers were paid off at the end of this year; many hundreds going idle. Subscriptions to the amount of about £1,000 collected to assist in relieving distress, about £600 of which was laid out in giving employment to the most necessitous in road and street repairs. (MS Note.)

GREAT DISTRESS IN DUNFERMLINE DURING 1837.—Influenza, typhus fever, and measles prevailed to a great extent, of which ailments a great many died, and hence there was a great increase in the number of deaths on the register. During 1837 there were 493 interments in the Abbey Churchyard, being 182 of increase over that of 1836. (Parish register.)

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